Starring: Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka, Freddie Highmore as Charlie Bucket, David Kelly as Grandpa Joe, Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Bucket, Noah Taylor as Mr. Bucket, Philip Wiegratz as Augustus Gloop, Franziska Troegner as Mrs. Gloop, Annasophia Robb as Violet Beauregarde, Missi Pyle as Mrs. Beauregarde, Julia Winter as Veruca Salt, James Fox as Mr. Salt, Jordan Fry as Mike Teavee, Adam Godley as Mr. Teavee, Deep Roy as the Oompa Loompas, and Christopher Lee as Dr. Wilbur Wonka
Directed by Tim Burton
Screenplay by John August, from the book by Roald Dahl
Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the second film adaptation of Roald Dahl's children's book of the same name. The first, 1971's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, is one of my favorite movies and has proved to be a timeless children's classic. When I heard that Burton, a director whose work I have always enjoyed, I was very excited. Johnny Depp was not my first choice to play Wonka, but he has been one of Burton's most frequent and successful collaborators. Unfortunately, the new movie does not come close to living up to the precedent set by the first movie. Burton removes a lot of the aspects that made the 1971 version great, including the clever script, the great music, and the touching ending. Depp is a fine actor, but his Wonka pales in comparison to Gene Wilder's quirky choclatier. Burton's version is just weird. The Willy Wonka in the first film was an eccentric genius, while Depp's Wonka only walks around saying odd and painfully unfunny things. As for the music, the only songs in this movie are sung by the Oompa Loompas, and they might be good, but it is impossible to understand any of the words. The excellent ending from the first movie is replaced with a sour one that involves the added aspect of Wonka's relationship with his father, a comletely unneccesary subplot that really slows the movie down.
To be honest, I was enjoying the movie at the beginning. I did not mind the "Burtonization" of the setting of Charlie's house and the neighborhood he lived in. I liked the scenes with Charlie, his parents, and his grandparents talking about the wonders of Willy Wonka and his factory. However, when the other children start to find the Golden Tickets, the film goes steeply downhill. The other children, particularly Augustus Gloop, look more like cartoons than real people, as do their parents. By the way the movie runs through each child so quickly, you can tell that they will not be as important to the movie as they should be. In the blink of an eye, Charlie finds the last Golden Ticket and he goes to the factory with his grandfather. At this point, the movie might as well change its name to The Johnny Depp Show. I don't think anyone besides Depp has more than two lines for the next hour or so. The other characters become completely unimportant, as the children are rushed out to make room for more lines for Willy Wonka. The ending is quite possibly the worst part of the movie, as it drags on for far too long and is completely inferior to the ending of the Gene Wilder version. I left the theater utterly disappointed and wanting more. In conclusion, save your 10 dollars and rent the original version instead. It will be a much better experience.
Overall: 2 stars out of 5